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Buffon happy to be part of new Italy generation

Never too old: Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon attends a press conference in Manchester ahead of Friday’s friendly against Argentina © AFP / Oli SCARFF

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Mar 23 – Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon insisted Thursday that he still has a role to play in Italy’s future despite already having passed his 40th birthday.

The Juventus star quit international football after Italy stunningly failed to qualify for the World Cup finals.

However, he has since reversed his decision and will play against Argentina on Friday, also retaining the captain’s armband.

“Everyone knows the truth. My role in the squad has always been positive and I’ve always brought people together. I’ve always put us before me,” Buffon, who holds a European record 175 international caps, told reporters at the Etihad Stadium.

“I’m not here to showcase, to show myself off. I can still be useful. I might be 40 but I’m the goalkeeper of Juventus.

“Italy is a funny country where people enjoy controversy but any controversy about me is just sensationalism. After a while all this controversy will just fall away.”

Buffon has previously hinted that this season could be his last but he does not appear to have any retirement plans yet, especially with Juve well-placed for another Serie A title and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

“I don’t know if my last match will be with Juventus or an international but it will be low key and sober, normal,” he said.

“I arrived at my first game on a scooter and the only car I have is the one that Juventus make available for me.”

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After Friday’s game, Italy head for London where they will play England at Wembley on Tuesday.

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